By WTOC staff
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - WTOC has learned OSHA has fined Imperial Sugar nearly $9 million in the wake of the February 7 explosion at the Port Wentworth plant.
The investigation led OSHA to cite Imperial Sugar for 61 egregious violations, eight willful violations and 51 serious violations.
For the violations at the Port Wentworth plant, the fines totaled more than $5 million and OSHA also added nearly $4 million for Imperial's Louisiana plant.
This is the third largest fine in OSHA's history.
In OSHA's report, it says cumulative sugar dust inside the packaging elevator of silo one started fire and caused the second explosion.
The second explosion in the silo gallery and tunnel spread to the packaging house and adjacent building.
Imperial CEO John Sheptor says in a statement that the company will fight these citations and calls the fines excessive.
Below is a copy of the statement released by Imperial Sugar in response to OSHA's citations:
The largest fine in OSHA history was a $21.3 million to BP after an explosion on March 23, 2005 at its Texas City, Texas refinery. That explosion killed 15 people and injured more than 170 others.